Chicago Abortion Fund

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Chicago Abortion Fund
Chicago Abortion Fund logo.jpg
Founded 1985
  • Deb B. – Catholic Women for Reproductive Rights
  • Sarah Bornstein & Amy Laiken – Health Evaluation and Referral Service (HERS)
  • Cathy Christeller – Women Organized for Reproductive Choice (WORC)
  • Marge Cohen
  • Isabella Danel
  • Stacie Geller – Chicago Women’s Health Center
  • Lenore H. D. – Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance
  • Arden Handler
  • Illinois NOW
  • Kathy K. & Joan R. – National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL)
  • Kim Kishbaugh
  • Naomi Kistin
  • Ann Krantz
  • Madeline Levin
  • Midwest Women’s Center
  • National Lawyers Guild – Chicago Chapter
  • Dolores Pino
  • Rape Victims Advocates
  • Joan Rappaport
  • Jackie Schad
  • Susan Schreiber
  • Sherry Weingart
Type 501(c)3
Focus Second Trimester Abortion Procedures, Reproductive Justice Framework
Area served
Midwestern United States
Method Financial Assistance, Public Education
Key people
Gaylon Alcaraz
FY11 ending June 30, 2011 - $246,000
Slogan Make Choice Possible

The Chicago Abortion Fund (known colloquially as CAF) was founded in October, 1985[1] in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago Abortion Fund is a non-profit organization which provides medical referrals and funds to low-income women in need of safe abortion services. The group also engages and mobilizes low-income and poor women to become advocates for expanded reproductive access. This organization is affiliated with the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF).


The beginning of CAF was a movement and not a hierarchical beginning. Many played integral and supporting roles when the organization first began in 1985.

One such founder is known as Heather Booth, also founder of Jane and the Abortion Seven[2] – the women who, before abortion was legal, not only helped women obtain abortions but began to perform the abortions themselves. “Jane” (the Abortion Counseling Service of Women’s Liberation) began as an underground referral group. They did this illegal work so that women could have access to reproductive health services. In 1972, following the arrest of seven members of Jane,[3] a defense committee was formed which became the Abortion Task Force (ATF). The charges against the Jane women were dropped following the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

In 1973, the Health Evaluation and Referral Services (HERS) was formed, in part, as an outgrowth of the ATF. HERS had been a work group of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union (CWLU). At least one Jane woman had also been a member of the CWLU.

Activism and Outreach[edit]

In October, 1996, Chicago Abortion Fund formed African American Women Evolving (AAWE). This group was later renamed as Black Women For Reproductive Justice (BWRJ).

In March, 2008, Chicago Abortion Fund started a public access television show called "The A Word" featured on television channel CAN-TV 21 and YouTube.[4] The program's hosts discuss reproductive health and answer questions from viewers.

Rally For Roe poster.jpg

On January 22, 2009, Chicago Abortion Fund hosted a rally and march celebrating the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This event took place in Chicago, Illinois at Federal Plaza. The poster for this event is shown in the photo above.

In March, 2011, Chicago Abortion Fund released a public statement against a billboard placed on the south side of Chicago by Life Always.[5] Chicago Abortion Fund's executive director, Gaylon Alcaraz, appeared on NBC Chicago during a community protest against the billboard.[6]

On April 21, 2012, Chicago Abortion Fund hosted its fourth annual bowl-a-thon event.[7] Proceeds from this event supported the Chicago Abortion Fund.

On May 30, 2012, Chicago Abortion Fund's executive director, Gaylon Alcaraz, appeared on CAN TV21 to discuss women of color in the reproductive rights movement and answer questions from public viewers. This program was available to television viewers as well as viewers on the internet, who viewed the program via livestream.

On January 19, 2013, Chicago Abortion Fund was mentioned on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show.[8]

It also sometimes moves away from simply staking ground that says, 'Part of what we do is provide abortions, abortions are a protected medical procedure that are between her doctor and a woman and that's what we provide here.' You look at things like the Chicago Abortion Fund, and other abortion funds, that not only say that, but say, 'Hey, and if you can't afford it...'

— Melissa Harris-Perry, The Melissa Harris-Perry Show, Jan 19, 2013

A flyer advertising Chicago Abortion Fund's Roe v. Wade 40th Anniversary event.jpg

On January 22, 2013, Chicago Abortion Fund hosted the celebration Roe v. Wade 40th Anniversary.

On January 22, 2013, Brittany Mostiller and Gaylon Alcaraz were quoted by Ebony magazine.[9] Ms. Mostiller is a former grantee of Chicago Abortion Fund and Ms. Alcaraz is CAF's executive director. The article was titled "Roe v. Wade at 40: What Keeps Black Women from Going Public with Our Stories?"


  1. ^ "The Facts". Chicago Abortion Fund. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Kaplan, Laura (1997). The Story of Jane. University Of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226424219. 
  3. ^ "Nab 7 in abortion raid". Chicago Daily News. May 4, 1972. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Chicago Abortion Fund - The A Word". YouTube. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Grant, Melissa. "Chicago Abortion Fund: Anti-Choice Billboards Shame Black Women". Third Wave Foundation. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Balde, Lisa. "Anti-Abortion Billboards Arrive in Chicago". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Chicago Abortion Fund Event Page". NNAF. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "Melissa Harris-Perry Show, Jan 19". NBC News. 
  9. ^ McClain, Dani. "Roe v. Wade at 40: What Keeps Black Women from Going Public with Our Stories?". Ebony.